For the second consecutive year, the area’s marquee basketball program will be ushering in a new coach. Cleveland High basketball Coach Marc Paez confirmed Tuesday that he has resigned his position after one season at the school.
Paez, 30, led the Cavaliers to a North Valley League title, a 21-6 record and a berth in the City Section 4-A Division semifinals. He replaced Bob Braswell, who accepted an assistant coaching position at Cal State Long Beach last summer after leading the Cavaliers to a pair of 4-A final appearances in his four-year tenure.
Paez declined to discuss the particulars of his resignation Tuesday but indicated that it was largely a career move and that his days of coaching high school basketball might be over.
“I suspect that if I’m involved at all in coaching next year that it won’t be at the high school level,” he said. “It’s really a decision based on my career goals and objectives.”
Paez, a UCLA graduate who has coached in the Loyola Marymount-based Southern California Summer Pro League, said that he “has nothing firm at this point” regarding a job offer. He indicated that he hopes to learn more over the next few weeks.
Paez said he informed Cleveland Principal Ida Mae Windham of his decision to leave last Thursday and that he told players during a team meeting the next day. Cleveland will conduct its graduation ceremonies Thursday.
“It was something I’ve had in mind for a few weeks,” Paez said. “As we approached the end of the year, I thought it was the right time to reveal my decision.”
Paez came to Cleveland from his alma mater, St. Bernard, a parochial school in upscale Playa del Rey for which he was dean of students and the junior varsity basketball coach.
Bob Kindseth, the administrator in charge of athletics at Cleveland, speculated that teaching and coaching in the L. A. Unified School District might have been somewhat overwhelming.
“Coming from a private-school background, maybe the monolith affected him,” Kindseth said. “Whatever it was, (the announcement) surprised a lot of people.”
Kindseth said that finding a successor will be a complicated task because of several factors.
Paez, who is of Filipino descent, taught English at the school. If no other Cleveland teaching positions are vacated over the summer, another English teacher and minority candidate will be sought to remain in compliance with district guidelines governing minority representation in faculties.
Kindseth said that no members of the school’s physical education department are retiring and predicted that since teachers will receive an 8% pay raise next year, none from other departments will be leaving either.
Kindseth said no timetable has been established for reviewing possible candidates but that he expects a flurry of interest.
“It caught us all by surprise, so we haven’t really even begun to look (for a replacement),” Kindseth said. “But once the word gets out, I’m sure we’ll be getting calls from all over.”